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Int J Med Educ. 2017 Nov 24;8:408-413. doi: 10.5116/ijme.5a10.04e1.

Predictive validity of pre-admission assessments on medical student performance.

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College of Medicine, Alfaisal University, Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Mercy St. Vincent Medical Center, Toledo, United States.
King Fahad Medical City, Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.



To examine the predictive validity of pre-admission variables on students' performance in a medical school in Saudi Arabia.


In this retrospective study, we collected admission and college performance data for 737 students in preclinical and clinical years. Data included high school scores and other standardized test scores, such as those of the National Achievement Test and the General Aptitude Test. Additionally, we included the scores of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) exams. Those datasets were then compared with college performance indicators, namely the cumulative Grade Point Average (cGPA) and progress test, using multivariate linear regression analysis.


In preclinical years, both the National Achievement Test (p=0.04, B=0.08) and TOEFL (p=0.017, B=0.01) scores were positive predictors of cGPA, whereas the General Aptitude Test (p=0.048, B=-0.05) negatively predicted cGPA. Moreover, none of the pre-admission variables were predictive of progress test performance in the same group. On the other hand, none of the pre-admission variables were predictive of cGPA in clinical years. Overall, cGPA strongly predict-ed students' progress test performance (p<0.001 and B=19.02).


Only the National Achievement Test and TOEFL significantly predicted performance in preclinical years. However, these variables do not predict progress test performance, meaning that they do not predict the functional knowledge reflected in the progress test. We report various strengths and deficiencies in the current medical college admission criteria, and call for employing more sensitive and valid ones that predict student performance and functional knowledge, especially in the clinical years.


college performance indicators; cumulative grade point average; predictive validity; progress test; standardized admission tests

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